A French Court of Appeal in Paris has maintained that Genocidaire fugitive Dominique Ntawukuriryayo be handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, for trial. Ntawukuriryayo, a former Sous-prefect of Gisagara in Southern Province is accused of ring-leader-participation in the genocide crime in his area.
His appeal to skip the ruling of the Court of First Instance was thrown out, resulting in a historic development. It is the first time that France, accused of aiding Genocide perpetrators in their evil campaign in 1994 and shielding them from justice when they were losing it and after total defeat, has agreed to surrender a Genocide suspect.
Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama has responded to this positive move by cheering France, urging it to even do more and hand over other suspects in their custody, this time to Rwanda’s jurisdiction.
Given the deep involvement in the Genocide France is known to have had, it is understandable that many observers will remain sceptical of its genuineness in regard to cooperation in bringing Genocide suspects to book. And there is not much France can do to draw plaudits from cynics overnight. The only option is to keep doing the right thing.
It began by arresting suspects Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka of the St Famille massacre and Laurent Bucyibaruta, former prefect of Gikongoro at one go last year. Then Ntawukuriryayo’s apprehension followed later on October 16. The latest is the ruling to transfer the latter to ICTR. Now France can decide to do more by shipping Fr Wenceslas and Bucyibaruta to Rwanda. That way it would be building on the foundation it has laid through the arrests and transfer decision.
That would be interpreted as closer cooperation between the justice systems of France and Rwanda – cooperation of the type that would make it difficult for the Bruguières of this world to distort documented historic facts to abuse natural justice. This improved cooperation would also render the French territory unfertile soil for known and upcoming Genocide deniers.
Cooperation on such serious issues would deal a blow to France doubters, especially when it comes to the need for it to placate Genocide survivors. It is a choice France itself will have to make.